Protecting Members From Debit Card Fraud

Debit cards may be convenient, but they are also prone to scams.


I have a confession to make. I’m a typical Gen-Y with lots of student debt and an aversion to credit cards. I only want to spend the money that I have, so I never applied for a credit card in college, although I do have an emergency card from my parents. Now that I’ve graduated and am out of college, I’m still on a budget and I don’t want to deal with the hassle of a credit card. I use my debit card for everything, which I’m learning can be a big mistake.

The outdoor ATMs in front of my financial institution branches are my go-to for when I need cash. These outdoor ATM locations are often targets for criminals who practice “skimming,” or placing magnetic-strip reading machines over the ATM swipe terminal to collect card information. Outdoor ATMs and gas stations are two low-traffic areas that attract credit and debit card fraud. Credit unions can routinely check their outdoor ATMs for any tampering to make sure their members’ accounts are safe.
Unlike credit cards, debit cards allow money to be withdrawn from accounts immediately. I stay on top of my transactions by routinely checking my mobile banking app and online banking website. I also have alerts sent to both my phone and email about low balances and large transactions. Customizable alters through home and mobile banking helps members keep track of where their card is being used. When it comes to fraud, being reimbursed for credit card fraud is a much easier process than getting back from my debit card.
As a Gen Y consumer, of course I believe that convenience is key. But a convenient debit card can become a nightmare if my information — and therefore checking account — is stolen.  A simple credit card that feels as easy to use as my debit card tied to mobile banking is what Gen Y members are looking for.
If you’d rather your members use debit cards, ensure they are aware … or help members by ensuring a program/app/technology that helps alert them to questionable transations – either unusually large or from another location than they usually make purchases.

Oct. 9, 2012


  • I have heard that you should ALWAYS run your debit card as credit when making purchases as opposed to typing in a pin. My debit card has a Visa logo. My bank account (debit card) was hacked and I can attest to the fact that charges run through as "credit" fall under the Visa fraud guidelines and are much easier and faster to get back.